Our Bureau

Visakhapatnam, May 18

THE Pepsi bottling plant at Madhurawada on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam is overexploiting groundwater by sinking some 40 borewells, as a result of which the people in the vicinity are facing great hardship, according to Mr P. Pulla Rao, economist and human rights activist.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, a copy of which he released to newspersons, Dr Pulla Rao complained that Pepsi was digging borewells to a depth of 600 feet and there was simply no limit on, or count of, the quantity of groundwater being used by the company.

He urged the Prime Minister to direct the Central Groundwater Board to make an estimate of how much water had been drawn by the company during the past decade.

He also alleged that polluted water was being disposed of indiscriminately. Mr Rao has sought that the Central Pollution Control Board members visit the plant and go into the issue.

In another statement, Mr S. Srinivasa Rao, of the People's Welfare Association, said that there was absolutely no control over the company and the rights over local water resources had been surrendered to it.

Mr T. Shankar, General Secretary of Fisherfolk Youth Welfare Association, said that the local people would come out openly against the plant, as at Plachimada in Kerala, if the Government did not respond to their pleas for immediate corrective action.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 19, 2005)
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